To be a lord, to loaf again at ease
and guard anew one’s old ancestral tongue,
preserving all its might intact among
these ancient juvenile subjunctive pleas;

Or owe fealty to a lady who stays
beside a loaf fresh-sliced, a glass half-full,
the one whose smile and hooded glance can pull
a voice from stones and set the ice ablaze:

To this selfsame sovereign liege I kneel,
proffer a pommel-end with nape exposed,
and rise to find a path yet unforeclosed,
where shadowed foliage does not conceal.

A cup inlaid with finest filigree
still licenses the errant eye to see.

February 2, 2002

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